My only son started high school this year—I’m still in shock over that—and the thought he will be leaving home soon is something I can barely think about without becoming verklempt. Lately, he’s started asking about Driver’s Ed and getting his license. He’s fourteen. I’m not ready!
As I imagine my son out on his own, I experience both euphoria and anxiety: I’m excited that he’s ready and confident enough to want more independence, but I’m also anxious about what this will mean when he’s away without parent-approved adult supervision—whether for an evening with friends or a semester at college. One thing I know for certain, when he is away, I will pray.
As parents, we are all keenly aware that we cannot be with our children at all times. This separation process begins early and continues, I think, for the rest of our lives. (I mean, do we ever really completely separate from our children?!) So, whether your daughter was just married, your son recently earned his driver’s license, or your twins started a new daycare, it’s important that we know how to pray for our children.
This week marks the release of Edie Melson’s new book While My Child Is Away: My Prayers for When We Are Apart. Not only is this a handy reference book full of inspired prayers we can say for our children, but it is also peppered with devotions and prayers specifically written for us parents and caregivers.
The book itself is divided into nine chapters:
- The Triumph of Love
- Making Good Choices
- Peace Beyond Circumstances
- True Self-Confidence
- A Foundation of Faith
- A Core of Strength
- Companions Matter
- My God, My Defender
- Fully Present
Within each chapter, the reader will discover a number of prayers for the kiddos, a handful of prayers for the parents to pray for themselves (thank you!), a few devotionals, and a section entitled “Parenting Thoughts.” It’s basically four books in one! The organized, calming format invites us to relax into the discipline of prayer for our families. With the prayers divided into categories, it’s easy to find the right kind of prayer when you need it.
While the prayers for the children are a helpful tool filled with love from a mama’s heart, I personally find the prayers for parents and the devotionals to be something I need just as much (possibly more). The personal stories included in the devotionals drive home her point again and again:
“[God] has lessons for each of us—even our kids—and we don’t always need to be there to make sure they get the point” (p. 20).
Amen, sister! Amen.
In addition to the fantastic content, I cannot conclude this book review without commenting about the physical formatting of the book itself. The book is a small paperback that fits nicely into my hands. Whoever designed the cover deserves an award, because not only is it an aesthetically pleasing and calming design, it also has flaps on each side which can be used to mark the spot of favorite prayers or devotionals. It’s obvious to me that a lot of thought went into this book from character-building content to charming page design. Each prayer page features the subject of the prayer in bold print, an inspirational quote, the prayer itself*, and a related Bible verse. The book is something I will treasure and refer to frequently for years to come.
This book is not only a wonderful reference for any parent, it would also make a great gift for anyone who wants to pray effectively for his or her children.
* The prayers are both inclusive and exclusive. Inclusive, because they alternate between “he” and “she.” Exclusive, because each prayer will focus either on a son or a daughter. The prayers are easily be adapted for your own child.
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